No Letdown Here

CLEMSON – It's almost eerie just how much confidence the Clemson players gained following their victory over Florida State. In past years, they always said the right things, but it was difficult to tell if they truly meant them. Now, they definitely have a swagger about them.

Of course, actions speak louder than words, but after the way they controlled the Seminoles for most of the game, there's a definite sense the players honestly believe everything they're saying.

It's written all over their faces, which is a good thing. Most of the dominant teams have that same aura about them.

That's why fans shouldn't expect any sort of a letdown as in years past against North Carolina Saturday in Death Valley.

"Those were teams of the past," senior cornerback Duane Coleman said. "I think this is a new Clemson team. I think we proved that in Week 1, when we played against Florida Atlantic – 54-6.

"Normally, Clemson of old, it probably would have been 28-7 or something. I think this is a new year and a new team."

Linebacker Nick Watkins, the sole veteran of the linebacking corps, is right there with Coleman.

"I honestly don't see anybody on our schedule that we shouldn't beat," he said. "I think we're in a good position. We're kind of in the driver's seat almost. We've kind of got the red carpet laid out for us."

But just because they feel they should win their remaining games doesn't mean they're taking the opposition lightly.

"I don't see (a letdown) happening," Watkins said. "Coming from Boston College, I don't think the team wants to feel that feeling ever again. That was a hard loss. … Last week's game still kind of hurts because we know we should be undefeated."

And for guys like Coleman and Watkins, both of whom have experienced those bad losses following good wins, they're going to do everything in their power to make sure the underclassmen realize what's at stake and that there are no easy games.

"When we played Florida State, they were ranked No. 9, so guys just gave it all they had," Coleman said. "Now that we're back in the polls, North Carolina is looking at us like they're going to knock us off and pull off the upset. We've got to go out each week like we've got something to prove."

Watkins said the odds of any letdowns happening this year are slim because the leadership is better than in years past, which seems to be a common theme among the others, as well.

They young guys are constantly saying how the older guys are looking after them and helping them, while the upperclassmen are always saying how hard the underclassmen are working.

Those kind of remarks weren't often uttered the past few seasons.

"I actually do (think the leadership is better)," Watkins said. "I can honestly say that I believe that because I can just see the team jelling together more. When I was a freshman and redshirt freshman playing to now, there's more camaraderie and there's more togetherness and everybody's on the same page." Top Stories